OT: WARNING If you are using Streets&Trips 2006 or Autoroute 2006 READ THIS

Iain McFadyen mcfadyenusa at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 4 16:33:03 CST 2006

Stephen Smith is a well respected expert in the field of GPS. I take his
warnings seriously.

Sounds like the recent Sony spyware debacle all over again...

Iain    KI4HLV

> From: "Stephen H. Smith" <wa8lmf at aol.com>
> Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 13:20:05 -0800
> Subject: [TinyTrak] WARNING  If you are using Streets&Trips 2006 or
Autoroute 2006 READ THIS
> Many APRS users use Microsoft Streets & Trips (or it's Euro equivalent
AutoRoute), either standalone, with APRS applications like UIview, or as a
source of static maps for other APRS applications.   Before installing or
using the 2006 version of these programs, note the following.............
> ======  SPYWARE WARNING FOR STREETS 2006 !!! (=======
> Also applies to AutoRoute 2006  (the Euro version of Streets)
> Microsoft is using tactics virtually identical to spyware pushers in Streets
2006.    When you first insert the CD to install the program, an undisclosed
undocumented program is stealth loaded onto your harddisk, even before the
first screen of the install dialog appears.  
> This program,   Microsoft  Location Finder,   utilizes Internet 
> connections, either hardwired or WiFi, to attempt to determine your current
location and reports it back to Microsoft.  The application attempts to
triangulate your location by monitoring what WiFi hotspots your PC can
currently hear.  If there is no WiFi present in the PC, it attempts a whois on
the IP address your wired connection is currently using. The secret placing of
this invasive privacy-invading application on millions of PCs is part of
Microsoft's future plan for "Location Based Services" which means popping up
banner ads when MS detects that you are within a block or so of a particular
business.    The unwitting installation of this program places a 64 MEGABYTE (
!! ) 
> password-protected database of the known locations of hundreds of thousands
of public WiFi hotspots in airports, cafes, Starbucks, etc on your hard disk. 
 (You can see it in the directory \Program Files\Microsoft Location Finder).  
    Further, you are recruited as an unwitting accomplice in updating this
database.  Every time your GPS and WiFi equipped laptop passes within range of
a new hotspot, it's 
> coordinates are reported back to MS via your current Internet connection.  
> The first indication of the installation of this piece of unwanted crapware
is the appearance of an icon of a curved green arrow pointing into a target in
your Windows System Tray next to the clock.     The first time you run
Streets, it produces a message "We have detected a WiFi connection on this 
PC. Do you want us to determine your current location on the map?".   Whats
wierd is that this message appears even when there are NO network connections
at all active on the machine. 
> Even though the install is completely undisclosed, an item IS placed in the
Install/Remove programs applet in the Windows control panel.  The uninstall
routine is a COMPLETE SHAM!   It removes the systray icon, an .EXE file,  and
a couple of documents  from the Location Finder 
> directory but leaves 4 DLLs (program modules) and the 64MB database.  
> Thinking perhaps it was just a sloppy uninstaller, I erased the 
> remaining files (especially the space-wasting database) by hand.   
> Starting Streets afterwards generated several error messages that "program
files were damaged or missing" and requested that the install CD be placed in
the drive so that this thing could be re-installed!!!  
> In other words, even after the supposed uninstall, Streets is calling
components of Location Finder. 
> After many hours of experimentation, I discovered there is a way to kill
this obnoxious crapware.   
>WARNING!  This requires editing the Windows Registry database.
>One errant keystroke here can totally trash your Windows system.
>         Back up the registry first!  

> 1)  Before initially installing Streets & Trips 2006 (or the Euro equivalent
AutoRoute),  make sure you have NO network connections of any kind live. 
Unplug any ethernet cable and ensure that your WiFi transceiver is turned off.

> 2)  After the install, immediately go to the Windows Control Panel 
"Add/Remove Programs" and "uninstall" Microsoft Location Finder.
> 3)   Locate the directory "\Program Files\Microsoft Location Finder"  and
delete it.
> 4)   Click "Start, Run" and enter "regedit" (The Windows Registry Editor).  
 In Regedit, pull down "Edit, Find" and search for "Microsoft Location
Finder".  Keep pressing F3 to find the next occurance of this phrase. Delete
every item (registry "key") you find with this string in it.
> 5)  Exit the Registry editor and reboot.  Streets should now be able to
startup without Location Finder and without complaining. 

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